Mexico City legalized same-sex civil unions on Thursday, the first such move in the country, amid strong objections by the Roman Catholic Church and conservative groups.
The Mexican capital became the second city in Latin America to grant legal recognition of homosexual couples, after Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Titled "Cohabitation in Society," the measure allows two people of the same sex to enjoy the same legal rights and benefits allowed married couples, excluding the adoption of children.
The 66-seat municipal council approved the bill on a 43 to 17 vote, with five abstentions, setting off celebrations among its supporters.
"All that's left is for the mayor of Mexico City, Alejandro Encinas, to sign it into law and he has already said he would," said Daniel Salazar, a council lawmaker for the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution.
He predicted the first gay civil unions would be recognized before the end of the year.
Only the municipal council members of the Catholic conservative National Action Party of President Vicente Fox and president-elect Felipe Calderon opposed the measure.
The move also was strongly opposed by representatives of the church and most conservative groups in the country.
It would only apply within the municipal bounds of Mexico City. Similar measures were being considered by the states of Coahuila and Colima.